Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

– November –

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer


November 1

November 1, 1914
Leading anarchists, including Peter Kropotkin, publish statements and articles in the anarchist newspaper Freedom calling on anarchists to support the Allies (Russia-France-Britain) in the World War. There is one dissenting article, by Errico Malatesata.

Further Reading:
Manifesto of the Sixteen

November 1, 1954
Sixty bombs are set off in Algiers, setting off the Algerian War of Independence. Over the next eight years, 1.5 million Algerians and 30,000 French will die. Algeria gains its independence in 1962.

Further Reading:
History of Algerian Independence

Related Topics: Algeria

November 1, 1956
An explosion in a coal mine in Springhill, Nova Scotia kills 39 miners. Eighty-eight others are rescued through the heroic efforts of rescue teams composed of other miners.

Related Topics: Coal MiningMining Safety

November 1, 1971
The first issue of the gay liberation newspaper The Body Politic is published in Toronto.

Further Reading:
Body Politic abstract published in Connexions 1977
Body Politic abstract published in Connexions 1978
Body Politic abstract published in Connexions 1981

Related Topics: Gay & Lesbian HistoryGay Liberation Movement

November 1, 1974
The Native People’s Caravan begins a cross-Canada trek to raise awareness of broken treaties and grievances against the Canadian government.

Related Topics: Aboriginal RightsFirst NationsNative Peoples

November 2

November 2, 1869
Metis in the Red River area turn back the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Red River Colony, William McDougall, who is known to be notoriously anti-French.

Further Reading:
Red River Rebellion

November 2, 1936
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is established as a Crown Corporation, with 8 stations and 16 privately owned affiliates.

Related Topics: Broadcasting HistoryCBCPublic Broadcasting

November 2, 1960
A jury in England finds the publisher of D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, not guilty of obscenity.

November 2, 1965
In protest against the Vietnam War, Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, commits suicide underneath the window of Defence Secretary Robert S. McNamara’s Pentagon office by dousing himself with kerosene, and setting himself on fire.

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementVietnam War

November 2, 1979
Members of the Black Liberation Army free black radical Assata Shakur from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey. Shakur lives on the run for several years. In 1984, she is granted political asylum in Cuba.

November 3

November 3, 1896
In the Greek city of Patras, Dimitris Matsalis, an anarchist shoemaker, attacks a banker and a merchant with a knife, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

November 3, 1903
Encouraged by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, rebels in what is now Panama (then part of Colombia), declare Panama an independent state. The U.S. immediately sends a warship to prevent the Colombian government from taking action to oppose the rebels. Less than two weeks later, a treaty is signed giving the U.S. control of the Panama Canal Zone in perpetuity. The treaty is actually negotiated between an American representative and a French businessman; no Panamanian is permitted to take part, although the new Panamanian government is subsequently permitted to ‘approve’ the already signed treaty. U.S. troops are sent to ‘protect American interests’; they remain until 1914.

November 3, 1903
Birth of Walker Evans (1903-1975), American photographer best known for documenting the effects on the Great Depression, especially on rural people in the South.

Further Reading:
James Agee and Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

November 3, 1918
German sailors in Kiel revolt, demanding “peace and bread,” and the release of their comrades who have been imprisoned for refusing orders. Troops sent to put down the mutiny either return to their bases, or join the uprising. Sailors, soldiers and workers elect councils which take control of the towns of Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. Over the next few days, workers’ and soldiers’ councils arise across Germany. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, abdicates and goes into exile. On November 9, a republic is proclaimed, and on November 11, the war ends.

Related Topics: German HistoryMutiniesRevolts

November 3, 1972
Five hundred protesters from the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a Native American march, begin a six-day occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in Washington, D.C.

Related Topics: Aboriginal History

November 3, 1979
Armed Ku Klux Klan members attack an anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, killing five and injuring ten others. Although the attack is captured on film, two all-white juries go on to acquit the murderers.

Related Topics: Political Murders

November 4

November 4, 1811
A group of men in Bulwell, England, break into a workshop and smash weaving machines which threaten their jobs. They call themselves followers of “General Ludd” and go down in history as “Luddites.” They are not opposed to machines per se, but they believe that machines should be used to make weavers more productive and better paid, not to destroy their livelihoods.

Further Reading:
Progress Without People: In Defense of Luddism

Related Topics: Luddism

November 4, 1914
Bolshevik deputies in the Russian Duma are arrested and sent to Siberia for opposing the war.

November 4, 1918
The poet Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) is killed in Northen France, one week before the end of the ‘Great War’. Found on his body is his poem Strange Meeting, narrated by a soldier who goes to the underworld to escape the battlefield and there meets the enemy soldier he killed the day before.

“Strange, friend,” I said, “Here is no cause to mourn.”
“None,” said the other, “Save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also;”
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . .”

November 4, 1936
Representatives of the anarchist CNT join Spain’s Republican government, headed by Caballero, on condition they receive four seats in cabinet, rather than the one originally offered. The leading anarchist paper proclaims that with the addition of the four anarchist ministers, the Government has “ceased to be an oppressor of the working class.” Some foreign anarchists criticize the decision, but others, like Emma Goldman, acknowledge that while taking up positions in a government is a difficult choice for anarchists, in view of General Franco’s revolt, “I could hardly blame the CNT-FAI for choosing a lesser evil: participation in government rather than dictatorship.”

Further Reading:
Lessons of the Spanish Revolution, by Pham Binh

Related Topics: Spanish Revolution

November 4, 1984
In the first free elections in Nicaragua’s history, with an 83% voter turnout, the Sandinista Front wins 70% of the vote. The United States government reacts as it always does when democracy produces the ‘wrong’ result: it does everything it can to overthrow the Sandinista government.

Related Topics: NicaraguaNicaraguan RevolutionSandinistas

November 5

November 5, 1855
Birth of Eugene Debs (1855-1926), American socialist and unionist.

November 5, 1892
Birth of J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964), scientist and Marxist. An atheist, Haldane liked to say that if God did exist, his most distinctive characteristic would be “an inordinate fondness for beetles” &ndash a reference to the fact that there are more species of beetle than of any other animal life-form.
Quote: “There is no great invention, from fire to flying, which has not been hailed as an insult to some god.”

November 5, 1926
Birth of John Berger, English art critic, writer, painter, and poet.

Further Reading:
John Berger: Ways of Seeing
John Berger: About Looking
John Berger and Jean Mohr: A Seventh Man: A book of images and work about the experience of migrant workers in Europe
John Berger: We must speak out

November 5, 1952
Birth of Vandana Shiva, philosopher and environmentalist.

November 6

November 6, 1217
The Charter of the Forest is issued in England. It is a complement to the Magna Carta, which was first issued in 1215. The Magna Carta, also known as the Charter of Liberties, guaranteed that England would be governed according to the customs of feudal law, rather than arbitrarily by the King.
The Charter of the Forest specifically addresssd grievances related to forest law. After the Norman Conquest, legislation had been introduced which forbad common or agricultural use of all land designated to be royal hunting reserves; included was much land traditionally used for farming or common use. Violators of the law were subject to severe penalties, including mutilation and death. Increasing resentment of, and resistance to, the forest laws leads the Crown to agree to the Charter of the Forest, which limits the amount of land designated as royal forest, and allows common access to the rest.
As Noam Chomsky writes, “The Charter of the Forest demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations.”

Further Reading:
Liberties and Commons for All
Destroying the Commons: How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta

Related Topics: The CommonsEnclosure of the CommonsForests

November 6, 1860
Abraham Lincoln wins the U.S. Presidential election. The first Republican President, he wins entirely on the strength of his support in the North: in ten Southern States, his name does not even appear on the ballot. The Southern States do not even wait for Lincoln to take office; unwilling to remain in a country presided over by a President who loathes slavery, they immediately prepare to secede. South Carolina’s two senators resign from the U.S. Senate four days after the election, and the South Carolina legislature calls a convention to secede from the U.S. Other slave states follow: by the time Lincoln is inaugurated in March 1861, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas have all declared their secession and proclaimed themselves the “Confederate States of America”. Lincoln refuses to accept the legality of secession, and Civil War becomes inevitable.

Further Reading:
The War of Northern Aggression

Related Topics: Anti-slaveryLincoln, AbrahamU.S. Civil War

November 6, 1913
2500 ethnic Indian residents of South Africa, led by Mohandas Gandhi, march to assert their rights.

Related Topics: ApartheidSouth Africa

November 7

November 7, 1811
U.S. troops defeat natives defending their land in the Battle of Tippecanoe, after Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) had persuaded various tribes whose lands were being seized by white settlers to join in a united resistance.

Related Topics: Aboriginal History

November 7, 1837
Abolitionist editor Elijah P. Lovejoy (1802-1837) is murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois. Mobs had destroyed his printing press on two previous occasions in an effort to silence him; this time they make sure by killing him.

Related Topics: Anti-Slavery

November 7, 1841
Slaves aboard the ship Creole revolt. The Creole was transporting slaves from Virginia to New Orleans. Slaves on board take over the ship and take it to the Bahamas, a British territory where slavery has been banned.

Related Topics: Anti-SlaverySlave Revolts

November 7, 1867
Birth of Marie Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934), a physicist and chemist known for her work on radioactivity. Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and is the only person ever to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences (physics and chemistry). Despite her two Nobel prizes, the French Academy of Sciences refuses to accept her as a member because she is a woman, while the right-wing French press reviles her as an atheist and a Jew.

Related Topics: Scientists

November 7, 1879
Birth of Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. (26 October according to the old Russian calendar in use at the time.)

Related Topics: Trotskyism

November 7, 1893
Propaganda of the Dead: Spanish anarchist Santiago Salvador throws two bombs into a theatre in Barcelona, killing twenty people and injuring scores of others. He believes in the then-popular anarchist concept of ‘propaganda of the deed’ according to which anarchists can spur the masses to rise in revolt by engaging in acts that display the moral superiority of anarchism.

Related Topics: Propaganda of the Deed

November 7, 1913
Birth of Albert Camus (1913-1960), French writer and philosopher, opponent of totalitarianism and capital punishment.

November 7, 1917
The October Revolution in Russia (October 25 according to the old Russian calendar in use at the time). For several weeks Bolsheviks and ordinary workers, soldiers, sailors, and peasants have been carrying on extensive campaigns of agitation throughout the country against the Provisional Government, which is determined to keep Russia in the war. When the Provisional Government attempts to shut down the Bolshevik newspaper and take over the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee, Red Guards and soviet workers take control of bridges and key positions in the city, including the power stations, the central telephone exchange, the General Post Office, the State Bank, and major government buildings. The Revolutionary Military Committee then publishes a manifesto proclaiming victory.

Further Reading:
Ten Days that Shook the World

Related Topics: BolshevismRussian Revolution

November 8

November 8, 392
Emperor Theodosius prohibits all ‘pagan’ worship in the Roman Empire, even in the privacy of individual homes. Theodosius is an enthusiastic champion of Christian persecution of competing religions, and orders the destruction of many temples and holy sites. After his death in 395 the Eastern Orthodox Church makes him a saint.

Related Topics: Religious PersecutionRoman History

November 8, 1685
Edict of Potsdam: Fredrick William of Brandenburg offer the French Huguenots refuge. His action follows the French king’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which had allowed France’s Protestant Huguenots to live in peace for the previous 90 years. Hundreds of thousands of Huguenots flee France as a result of the persecution, and Brandenburg-Prussia becomes a centre of immigration for religious refugees fleeing persecution in Russia, Bohemia, and the Netherlands, as well as France. (October 29 old calendar).

Related Topics: HuguenotsRefugeesReligious PersecutionReligious Tolerance

November 8 - 12, 1892
Individual strikes in New Orleans culminate in a general strike. Despite continuous attempts by the employers and media to divide the workers with appeals to race hatred, black and white workers remain united, and the general strike ends on November 12 with unions gaining most of their demands.

Related Topics: Divide and ConquerGeneral StrikesStrikes/U.S.

November 8, 1897
Birth of Dorothy Day (1897-1980), co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

November 8, 1923
The Beer Hall Putsch: Adolf Hitler and Erich Ludendorff try to seize power in Munich. Hitler and his associates hope to take over Munich, and then use Munich as a base to take over all of Germany, similar to the way that Mussolini seized power in Italy the previous year. The attempted coup is put down, and Hitler is imprisoned for one year.

Related Topics: Nazi History

November 8 - 9, 1938
Kristallnacht. Across Nazi-ruled Germany, synagogues are set on fire, Jewish buildings destroyed, and about 26,000 male Jews are arrested.

Related Topics: Anti-SemitismNazi HistoryPogroms

November 8, 1994
Dr. Garson Romalis of Vancouver, British Columbia is shot by an anti-abortion terrorist.

Related Topics: Anti-Abortion MovementAnti-Abortion ViolenceTerrorism

November 9

November 9, 1799
Napoleon Bonaparte proclaims himself ruler of France, ten years after the French Revolution overthrew the monarchy and shattered the old order.

November 9, 1965
Roger Allen LaPorte (1943-1965), a member of the Catholic Worker Movement, immolates himself at the United Nations in New York in protest against the Vietnam War.

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementVietnam War

November 9, 1989
The East German government yields to increasing popular pressure and opens the Berlin Wall.

November 10

November 10, 1483
Birth of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther’s vigorous protests against clerical abuses become the spark for the Protestant Reformation, which began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church but then became a schism resulting in the creation of new forms of Christianity, which became known as Protestant.

Further Reading:
A Marxist History of the World: The Reformation

Related Topics: Reformation

November 10, 1917
41 suffragettes are arrested for protesting in favour of women’s rights outside the White House. They are imprisoned and subjected to violent abuse while in jail.

Related Topics: State ViolenceSuffragettesVoting Rights (Suffrage)

November 10, 1924
The Society for Human Rights, the first gay rights organization in the U.S., is founded in Chicago by Henry Gerber, a German immigrant. He is inspired by Germany’s Scientific Humanitarian Committee , formed to oppose the oppression of men and women who are considered “sexual intermediates.”

Related Topics: Gay & Lesbian History

November 10, 1975
The ship Edmund Fitzgerald sinks in a storm on Lake Superior. All 29 men aboard are lost.

November 10, 1995
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995) and eight other human rights campaigners are executed by the Nigerian government for leading a campaign against environmental abuses caused by oil companies in the Niger Delta.

Further Reading:
Statement to the Court, by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Antiwar Masterpiece

Related Topics: Judicial Murders

November 10, 1995
Dr. Hugh Short of Ancaster, Ontario is shot by an anti-abortion terrorist.

Related Topics: Anti-Abortion MovementAnti-Abortion ViolenceTerrorism

November 11

November 11, 1831
Nat Turner (1800-1831), leader of the largest slave rebellion in the United States, is executed.

Related Topics: Slave Revolts

November 11, 1918
The end of the Great War (later called World War I). This imperialist war, which began on August 1, 1914, left more than 16 million dead and 20 million wounded, and set the stage for the rise of fascism and the even more destructive Second World War.

Related Topics: First World War

November 11, 1919
The Centralia Massacre. During a parade in Centralia, Washington, on the first anniversary of the Armistice Day, a confrontation erupts between members of the American Legion, who see the war as a glorious achievement, and workers, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), who see the war as a crime against working people. Six die in the confrontation, more are wounded.

November 11
Birth of Ulli Diemer, libertarian socialist writer, editor, and archivist. He compiles a People’s Chronology called “Seeds of Fire” – and deviously slips his own birthday into the chronology.
Quote: “We need all the help we can get in overthrowing capitalism, including the help of people who are dead.”

Related Topics: Left HistoryLibertarian SocialismLibraries/Archives

November 12

November 12, 1815
Birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), American women’s rights campaigner.

Related Topics: SuffragettesVoting Rights (Suffrage)

November 12, 1939
Death of Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939). A Canadian Communist, Bethune develops the first mobile blood-transfusion unit while serving with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. He subsequently goes to China and serves with the Communist forces fighting the Japanese invaders. He dies as a result of an infection contracted while operating on a wounded soldier.

November 12, 1999
Residents of Cochabamba form the Coordinadora de Defensa del Agua y de la Vida (Coalition for the Defence of Water and Life) to fight water privatization.

November 13

November 13, 1775
An American army captures and occupies Montreal. The American goal is to conquer Canada, a campaign which fails when the American forces are defeated at Quebec City on December 31. In Montreal, there is widespread resentment as the occupying forces arrest Loyalists and threaten to arrest and punish anyone opposed to the American cause, while paying for goods with paper money that is seen as worthless.

November 13, 1862
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who writes stories under the name ‘Lewis Carroll’ starts writing “the fairy-tale of Alice,” eventually published as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

November 13, 1933
Workers at the Hormel Packing Company in Austin, Minnesota stage the first known “sit-down” strike in the United States. It begins when the company tries to bring in scabs to break the strike by the members of the Independent Union of All Workers (IUAW).
“Four hundred men, many of them armed with clubs, sticks and rocks, crashed through the plant entrance, shattering the glass doors and sweeping the guards before them. The strikers quickly ran throughout the plant to chase out non-union workers. One ... group crashed through the doors of a conference room where Jay Hormel and five company executives were meeting and declared ‘We're taking possession. So move out!’” (Larry Engelmann, We Were the Poor – The Hormel Strike of 1933, Labor History, Fall, 1974.)

Within four days Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of the strike helps to reinvigorate the American labour movement, which had been in decline throughout the 1920s.

Related Topics: Direct ActionMeat Packing IndustrySitdowns/Sit-insStrikes/U.S.

November 13, 1973
A jury in Montreal acquits Dr. Henry Morgentaler on a charge of performing illegal abortions. Morgentaler’s clinic opened in 1969 and performed some 5,000 abortions at a time when abortion was illegal in Canada except when authorized by a hospital committee in cases where a woman’s life was in danger.
In the trial, Morgentaler’s lawyer argues that his duty as a physician to safeguard the health and lives of the women who came to him outweighs his duty to obey the law. The jury accepts this argument, and acquits him.
The provincial government appeals the conviction, and, in a move literally without precedent in Canadian legal history, a panel of judges overturns the jury’s acquittal and sends Morgentaler to jail.
The government continues to prosecute Morgentaler, and on two more occasions, juries refuse to convict him. In 1976, the provincial government capitulates, saying that it will no longer prosecute abortion clinics.

Related Topics: Abortion

November 13, 1974
Karen Silkwood (1946-1974), a technician and union activist with the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers’ Union at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium production plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, dies in a suspicious one-car crash.


Related Topics: Nuclear SafetyPlutonium

November 14

November 14, 1888 - March 20, 1889
American forces intervene in Samoa to ‘protect American interests.’

November 14, 1961
U.S. President John F. Kennedy increases the number of American military ‘advisors’ in Vietnam from 1,000 to 16,000.

Related Topics: InterventionU.S. ImperialismVietnam War

November 15

November 15, 1842
Slaves working on plantations owned by wealthy members of the Cherokee Nation rise in revolt. They raid local stores for weapons, ammunition, horses, and mules, and then head towards Mexico, where slavery has been outlawed. They are hunted down by a Cherokee militia and forced to return; five are executed. The slave revolt inspires further slave rebellions in the Indian Territory, where, by the time of the Civil War, slaves form 14% of the population.

Related Topics: Aboriginal HistorySlave RevoltsSlavery

November 15, 1969
Half a million people demonstrate against the Vietnam War in Washington and San Francisco.

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementVietnam War

November 16

November 16, 1484
Probable birthdate of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), Spanish bishop and historian who opposed slavery and condemned the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. His writings, including A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de Las Indias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies.

Related Topics: ColonialismColonies/Spanish

November 16, 1532
The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captures the Inca ruler Atahualpa, a major step in the destruction of the Inca Empire. Pizarro demands a huge ransom in gold to release Atahualpa. When it is delivered, Pizarro keeps the gold and murders Atahualpa.

Related Topics: ColonialismInca

November 16, 1837
Colonial authorities in Lower Canada move to arrest defeated rebels, who take refuge in the countryside.

November 16, 1885
The Métis leader Louis Riel (1844-1885), leader of the Northwest Rebellion, is hanged for treason.

November 16, 1989
Six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter, are brutally murdered in El Salvador by a military death squad.

November 17

November 17 - 24, 1904
U.S. forces intervene in Panama to ‘protect American interests’.

November 17, 1961
Saskatchewan enacts medicare, the first jurisdiction in North America to do so.

Related Topics: MedicareSocialized Medicine

November 18

November 18, 1918
Rosa Luxemburg’s article A Duty of Honour: Against Capital Punishment, is published. She writes: “The existing penal system, which is permeated through and through with the brutal class spirit and barbarism of capitalism, must be extirpated root and branch.”

Related Topics: Capital PunishmentPrisonersPrisons

November 18, 1998
Newspaper editor Tara Singh Hayer is assassinated in Surrey, British Columbia, for his strong opposition to Sikh extremists. He had survived a previous attack in 1988 that left him confined to a wheelchair.

Related Topics: AssassinationsPolitical MurdersViolence Against Journalists

November 19

November 19, 1274
A huge Mongol invasion force lands in Hakata Bay, Japan, but their attempt to conquer Japan fails when a typhoon destroys much of the Mongol fleet on the following day.

November 19, 1915
Joe Hill, labour militant and songwriter, is executed by a firing squad in Utah after being convicted of murder in a travesty of a ‘trial.’

Related Topics: Judicial MurdersWorkers’ History

November 20

November 20, 1967
Approximately eighty University of Toronto students and faculty members initiate a sit-in at the University Placement Service, an employment service on campus. The demonstration is in opposition of on-campus recruitment by the Dow Chemical Company, the manufacturer of napalm, which is being used by the United States in Vietnam.

November 20, 1968
Students at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, occupy the university’s administration offices.

November 20, 1969
Indians from 20 tribes, members of the group Indians of All Tribes (IAT), seize Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, offering to buy the island from the federal government for $24 worth of beads. They are demanding fairness and respect for Native people; the occupation lasts for more than a year.

Related Topics: Aboriginal History

November 21

November 21, 1927
The Columbine Mine Massacre. Police in Colorado attack striking coal miners and fire on them with machine guns. Six miners are killed, dozens are injured.

Related Topics: Coal MiningKillings by PoliceStrikebreakingStrikes/U.S.

November 22

November 22, 1909
Members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union go on strike in New York City against sweatshop conditions. The strikers win the support of other workers and the women’s suffrage movement for their persistence and unity in the face of police brutality and the capitalist courts. A judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God.”

Related Topics: Clothing IndustryStrikes/U.S.Women and the Labour MovementWomen’s History

November 22, 1929
Birth of Staughton Lynd, radical historian.

November 22, 1963
U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas.

November 22, 1998
7,000 protesters march on the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, Georgia. They are protesting the school’s training of Latin American soldiers and other ‘security’ personnel who return to their countries after their training and engage in violence and oppression of their populations. In this demonstration, 2,319 people are arrested for trespassing.

November 23

November 23, 1170 BCE
The first recorded strike (but certainly not the first strike!) takes place in Egypt when necropolis workers who have not been paid for their work in more than two months sit down and refuse to work until they are paid and able to eat.

November 23, 1644
Publication of John Milton’s Areopagitica (full title: Areopagitica: A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England), an argument for freedom of expression and against censorship.
Quote: “[T]hough all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”

Related Topics: CensorshipFreedom of Expression

November 23, 1793
A slave insurrection breaks out in St. John, in the Danish West Indies. The rebellion turns into one of the longest slave revolts in the Americas. Akwamu slaves capture the fort in Coral Bay and take control of most of the island. The revolt ends in mid-1734 when French and Swiss troops sent from Martinique defeat the rebels.

Related Topics: Slave Revolts

November 23, 1837
The first major armed clash in the 1837-38 Rebellion in Lower Canada takes place.

November 23, 1887
The Thibodaux Massacre: Armed white vigilantes attack striking black sugercane workers in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The number of dead is unknown, but may have been in the hundreds. Vigilante gangs rampage through the town, killing not only unarmed workers, but their families, including women, children, and the elderly. No one is ever charged for any of the killings.

November 24

November 24, 1859
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is published. It becomes the foundation of evolutionary biology, and revolutionizes our understanding of life on earth.

Further Reading:
Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins
On Darwin’s 200th Anniversary

Related Topics: Charles DarwinDarwinismEvolution

November 24, 1947
The Hollywood Ten are cited for contempt, and then blacklisted, for refusing to answer questions about their political beliefs after being summoned by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The Ten are: Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo.

November 24 - 25, 2012
A fire in a garment factory in Dakka, Bangladesh, kills more than 110 workers. The Tazreen Fashions building was reported to lack fire escapes, trapping workers on the upper floors of the nine-storey building.
From 2006 to 2012, more than 500 workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh. Efforts by workers to improve their pay and working conditions meet with fierce resistance: earlier in 2012, a union organizer, Aminul Islam, was tortured and killed in Dakka.

Related Topics: Clothing IndustryWorkplace Death & Injury

November 25

November 25, 1837
Rebels in Lower Canada are defeated by government troops at St-Charles.

November 25, 1855
American forces invade Uruguay to ‘protect American interests’ during an attempted revolution.

Related Topics: UruguayInterventionU.S. Imperialism

November 26

November 26, 1864
Birth of Herman Gorter (1864-1927), Dutch poet and radical socialist.

Further Reading:
Gorter: Open Letter to Comrade Lenin: A reply to “left-wing communism, an infantile disorder”
Gorter: The World Revolution
The Politics of Gorter, by Anton Pannekoek
A Life of Struggle: Farewell to Hermann Gorter, by Anton Pannekoek

November 26, 1865
Publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

November 26, 1883
Death of Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), African-American abolitionist and women’s rights campaigner.

November 26, 1983
U.S. President Ronald Reagan orders military assistance for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in its war against Iran. Saddam Hussein’s forces had attacked Iran in September 1980 in the expectation of a quick victory, but the expected victory had failed to materialize and Iraq was on the defensive.

November 27

November 27, 1965
A major demonstration against the Vietnam War takes place in Washington, D.C. A memorable speech by Carl Oglesby of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) becomes one of the most widely distributed texts of the anti-war movement.

Related Topics: Anti-War MovementVietnam War

November 27, 1978
Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the United States, and San Francisco mayor George Moscone, are assassinated.

November 28

November 28, 1757
Birth of William Blake (1757-1827), poet, painter, and printmaker.

November 28, 1820
Birth of Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), revolutionary socialist, life-long political and intellectual partner of Karl Marx.

November 29

November 29, 1856
Birth of Georgi Plekanov (1856-1918), Russian socialist.

November 29, 1864
A U.S. Army cavalry regiment attacks sleeping Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, killing nearly 500, in what becomes known as the Sand Creek Massacre. Virtually all of the victims, mostly women and children, were tortured and scalped; many women, including the pregnant, were mutilated. A local newspaper calls it “a brilliant feat of arms,” and states the soldiers had “covered themselves with glory.”

Related Topics: Aboriginal HistoryMassacres

November 29, 1947
Birth of Petra Kelly (1947-1992), a leader of the early German Green movement and party.

Related Topics: Green MovementGreen Parties

November 30

November 30, 1936
Birth of Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989), American social and political activist.

November 30, 1961
After the failure of the attempted invasion of Cuba (the Bay of Pigs invasion) U.S. President John F. Kennedy authorizes the CIA to launch covert terrorist operations against Cuba. Named Operation Mongoose, the operations involve U.S. military forces as well as the CIA, and include a variety of terrorist tactics, including repeated attempts to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro and other key leaders, economic sabotage, destruction of crops, and support for military raids by gangs of exiled Cubans.

Related Topics: Cuba-United States RelationsInterventionSabotageState TerrorismTerrorism

November 30, 1999
Tens of thousands of activists, students, union members and environmentalists demonstrating for global justice shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle, Washington. International media coverage largely ignores both the blockade and the police riot (and an enormous labour-sponsored rally and march), focusing instead on minor property damage committed by a fringe group of a few dozen Black Bloc anarchists.

Further Reading:
Chris Dixon: Five Days in Seattle: A View from the Ground
Loren Goldner: Seattle: The First US Riot Against “Globalization”?
Solidarity: Seattle: “What Democracy Looks Like”



Seeds of Fire is compiled for Connexions by Ulli Diemer. References used include the Connexions Library generally, and Connexipedia specifically, Wikipedia, Sources, the Peace History feature on, the books and articles of Noam Chomsky and William Blum (marvellous antidotes to historical amnesia), and a wide, wide variety of other sources.

For more information about some of the events and people mentioned, see the following pages in Connexipedia and in the Connexions Subject Index:

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Persons Listed in Connexipedia
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Aboriginal History
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Egyptian Revolt 2011
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SOURCES: History experts & sources
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